FlightAware Discussions

Picked up some rtl-sdr Metal dongle cases

I grabbed some of the rtl-sdr Metal usb stick cases when they were in stock recently.
I figured I’d stick the innards from a couple of my FlightAware Orange and RadarBox sdrs in aluminum enclosures with silicone heat transfer pads.

The enclosures come with the standard rtl-sdr v3 labeling, so I sanded it off to avoid confusing them with my real rtl-sdrs.

Then I wasn’t sure if I liked the sanded raw look(similar to the stock anodized look), and wondered what they’d look like polished.

So grabbed some Mag Polish and threw a buff disc on my palm sander and went to town.

I like both looks so have a mix.

I had to trim the casing down for the RadarBox(hacksaw and file).
The Thermal Pad I used is 2mm silicone.
2.5mm would be ideal, and maybe 3mm even could be jammed in there, but if you use the rails in the enclosure for the circuit board it is pretty awkward to try and slide the pad and board in

I may coat the polished one with jewelry sealant to keep it shiny.


Fancy! I bet that shiny one is at least 50% faster now! :laughing: :rofl: :grinning:

I’ll plan to see if it runs cooler. :slight_smile:
I’m surprised you didn’t go for the comment
“the noise will reflect better off the shiny one” :rofl: :rofl:

Updated the first post with some more details in case anyone decides to try something similar.
The RTL-SDR v3 uses a silicone thermal pad to help heat transfer to the aluminum case, so figured I might as well try that as well.

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So do I

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Bought 5 of those cases a couple years back to stuff various radios into and they work great. Not sure if they are the same now, but back then, you could literally rub the print off with your finger with a little scrubbing and then resort to a label maker with clear 1/4 inch medium in it to keep them organized.

They really do help keep the radios cooler if you use some thermal pad thick enough to make contact with the outer skin. PPM drift is not as pronounced when you stuff the cheap radios inside which is a bonus, especially if being used to pick up other parts of the spectrum, plus I think it’s great to keep the radio shielded from external interference. Every little bit helps and the price is right.

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